Didja think we forgot about this recap series? My lovely guest bloggers Arwen and Shadowfax and I were quite busy for the past two months, which was why this project was put off for a while. Although we’re back, don’t expect these recaps to come out anytime soon. But we promise to stay committed to this series till the very end. Now, please give a most welcome hand of applause to the lovely Arwen and brilliant Shadowfax. These two seriously have almost no time to play so the fact that they’re using their free time to join me in these recaps makes me a very happy camper.
This is probably my least favorite part in the entire series, although it’s momentous in its own way. I suppose it’s my least favorite because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to talk about. But somehow, all three of us were able to babble away and top the word count from our previous recap.
Some housekeeping memos to note: This recap is a bit different from any recap that you’ve read, because it contains two main voices: Arwen and myself. Our recapping styles are also quite different, so don’t be alarmed. Arwen recapped the 1st half while I recapped the 2nd half. It shouldn’t be too hard to read, though. It just makes this experience all the more interesting. For you and for us. Shall we return to visit our beloved Hobbits?
Recap: A Knife in the Dark—A Journey in the Dark
Aragorn (whom we mentioned as The Ranger from the previous recap) and the short ones make their way to the Watchtower of Amon Sul, otherwise known as Weathertop. Before Aragorn takes a look around, he provides the hobbits each with a sword. The look they have…it’s like they’ve never seen one before. Granted, they probably haven’t, but still.
Aragorn either walks around with the speed of a slug, or he lied and wandered off somewhere far away. Either way, nightfall approaches, and next thing we know, Frodo awakens with a start to this little fire and nice, crispy bacon. Frodo has somewhat of a temper tantrum and stomps out the fire [his poor, bare hobbitfeet] and we hear an eerie screech in the distance, marking the presence of the Ringwraiths. I really don’t know what in the holy heavens Aragorn was doing at this point. Clearly, he was too far away to hear that screech. But basically, the poor hobbits are left to fend for themselves, having never so much as touched a sword before this point. Big sharp pointy thing? What?
The melodramatic portrayal of this scene is pretty cool. Totally over-dramatic, but awesome anyway. I love how Frodo moves from the front of the group to the very back so subtly [sneaky little hobbit]. Meanwhile, his friends block him from view and Sam courageously crosses blades with the wraith. Ah, Sam. He’s the only one attempting to be useful at this point. Merry and Pippin..I don’t know what happened. Seems like they got shoved aside, but it was too smooth a shoving, so I’m not sure. Frodo?
The stupidity starts. What does he do? Oh you know, I’m just going to drop my sword and fall over backwards without so much as an attempt to fight back. One look and he turns into this puddle of gloriously nasty pudding. And then what? Yeah, I think it’s a brilliant idea to pull out the Ring at this point. Yes, in front of the enemies. So much for keeping that thing hidden, huh? Of course, the stupidity doesn’t end there. Next best act? PUTS IT ON. Ok, if the Nazgul couldn’t see him before, they can most definitely see him now. Smart, Frodo. Real smart.
Ok sorry. Whew. I’m done for now. Seeing the Ring, the Witchking reaches for it. Frodo does the one useful thing since all day and pulls his hand away. In retribution, Witchking stabs Frodo with a Morgul blade [fair punishment for his mass stupidity, if you ask me].
Side note: I don’t actually understand this. Clearly, the Nazgul saw that Frodo had the Ring. But somehow, Sauron never quite picks up on that?? I would think the Nazgul told him so after this little incident.. [I’m of the opinion that, to the Big Bad Ringwraiths, all the little hobbitses look the same so that afterwards, Sauron just goes after every little hobbit hissing “Frodo Bagginsss…”]
At this point, Aragorn finally storms in and awesomely battles with the Nazgul. Now we see his amazingness. Everyone cheer and ooh and ahh at how badass he totally is. After beating them all silly [not really, but they run away, overpowered by his sheer awesomeness], Aragorn attends to Frodo, declaring his own incompetence in treating such a wound and the need to safely bear him to the elves.
While all this excitement is taking place, we see Gandalf trapped atop Isengard. The camera follows a moth as it comes towards Gandalf, who catches it with one hand [pretty pro-skill, if I do say so myself]. He whispers something to it and lets it fly away once again. What for, what for? We shall see..
What is Saruman doing down below? First off, building a crapload of weapons, and then we move to see something being birthed, if that’s even the appropriate word for it. [In all actuality, it looks more like something being pooped out…] It’s like a distorted kind of a birth, complete with what looks like should be a placenta. Out bursts an Uruk-hai, a more ownage version of an orc. It could be some sort of commentary that the first thing it does even still partially submerged is kill another living being. Saruman, unconcerned for mere orcs, watches and has this satisfied smirk on his face, mixed with a bit of disgust.
Back to the poor hobbits, Aragorn [rather stoically, I might add] states that Frodo is passing into the shadow realm and will soon become a wraith like his attackers. While searching for athelas to slow Frodo’s poisoning, a sword is pointed under Aragorn’s chin, while a female voice comments rather sardonically on the irony of a ranger being caught off his guard.
Who might this be but the brilliant, amazingly gorgeous ARWEN EVENSTAR (Liv Tyler)!!! At last, my namesake enters the scene. We first see her through Frodo’s eyes. Slipping into darkness, an elf’s illuminating purity shines all the brighter to him. In Elvish, Arwen calls to Frodo, commanding him to return to the light.
She tells Aragorn that Frodo is fading quickly, and decides to bring him to Rivendell. Though the road is dangerous, with the wraiths still lurking about, she courageously gallops in the open. Sam thinks he’s smart enough to tell an elf what to do, with his indignant, “What are you doing?? Those wraiths are still out there!” Thank you, Captain Obvious [even if his concern and helplessness is touching].
There’s a super awesome horse-chase across the plains here that’s just indescribable. Arwen leads Frodo on horseback across the plains, though the wraiths almost catch up to her. By sheer skill (and luck), they make it across a small riverbed, where Arwen casts a spell on the river. The river transforms into an army of horses, barreling down the wraiths. The wraiths are gone, washed away by the waters. All would be well, having reached the borders of Rivendell, but Frodo’s will finally breaks, and he starts to succumb to the poison in his body from the knife. Arwen shares her immortal power with him so he will be spared.
Next thing we know, Frodo is lying on a bed in Rivendell, with who else beside him but Gandalf, escaped from Isengard. In a flashback, we see Saruman tossing poor Gandalf around the roof of the tower, still trying to force him into Sauron’s service. The moth from before flits across his face, and now we see that it was to call the Eagle Gwaihir to Gandalf’s rescue. [Don’t be alarmed if you missed this in the movie–they never mentioned the Eagle Lord’s name.] Gandalf leaps off the roof onto the back of the giant eagle, but not before delivering these words of warning: “There is only one Lord of the Ring. Only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power.”
Returning to the present, we follow a blissful reunion of the hobbits [and see the gorgeous scenery of Rivendell]. Even Bilbo is here, though so greatly aged without the Ring that he can barely hobble along without a cane. Frodo relays his feelings on leaving the Shire, feeling now that, after having an adventure of his own, he wishes he could go back: “I spent all my childhood, wishing I was off somewhere else—off with you, on one of your adventures. But my own adventure turned out to be quite different… I’m not like you, Bilbo.”
Frodo and Sam believe their journey over, and prepare to go home. Ah, but there are two and a half movies left before that happy return. Above them, Gandalf and ELROND (Hugo Weaving) discuss the fate of the Ring. Two steps ahead, Elrond has already called a council consisting of representatives from all races. This is great commentary on how a war on this level of severity affects all peoples of Middle Earth. Ever the raincloud, Elrond systematically denounces all races as incapable of helping resolve this problem. With the Elves leaving to sail to the Grey Havens, Dwarves hiding in the mountains, none will be left to defend the free peoples. At this, Gandalf resolves to place his hope in Men.
Elrond responds super despondently, at which point we see a flashback to when Isilidur first took the Ring. Elrond recalls with a slight twinge of bitterness that Man’s weakness prevented Isilidur from destroying Evil at that moment. Gandalf is a bit more optimistic and points out that there is one person who could reunite Men..
And then the camera pans to who else but Aragorn. Ooh………..interesting..
Aragorn and BOROMIR (Sean Bean) meet briefly for the first time. They share a common interest in the history of the Ring, though not with the same enthusiasm. We see that Boromir is almost child-like in his fascination with the legend, even picking up the broken sword. Aragorn has a completely different response: one of fear. He worries that as Isilidur’s heir, he will be equally weak as his ancestors. This is the first hint of Aragorn’s character development, which we will see unfolds as the trilogy goes on. [I think his is a most interesting growth of all the other characters.]
One of the only romantic moments occurs when Arwen appears as Aragorn is having his doubts, trying to reassure him that he need not fear the past: “You are Isildur’s heir. Not Isilidur himself.” They suddenly wind up on a bridge, where Arwen declares her undying love and commitment to living a mortal life with Aragorn rather than an eternity without him [everybody go “Awwwww..”].
The next morning, an entire council has been summoned from all across Middle Earth to discuss what will happen henceforth with the Ring. There’s an unspoken sense of tension between all the Elves, Dwarves, and Men as Elrond calls Frodo to bring the Ring to the center of the gathering.
There’s an ominous silence as Frodo places the Ring on the center table. In fact, the Ring whispers darkly in the air just as Boromir jumps up excitedly and tries to convince his fellow peers that the Ring is a gift that should be used against Mordor. He urges them to consider letting Gondor yield the power of the Ring. However, Aragorn disagrees and (correctly) states simply that the Ring’s power is too great; it will only answer to Sauron, its master. I love the beginnings of a contrast between Aragorn and Boromir right now. Oooh.
Offended, Boromir can’t believe a Ranger would dare to think that he knows more than him, which is when LEGOLAS (Orlando Bloom) immediately steps up to defend Aragorn, saying that he’s not a mere Ranger. In fact, Legolas doesn’t stop there, and instead, says to Boromir that he owes Aragorn his allegiance since he’s Isilduir’s heir. (Read: He gets the throne and you don’t! Neener! Neener!) It’s actually here in this scene that Aragorn’s identity is revealed. (Up to here, he was known as Ranger/Strider.) Oomph. Legolas, I know you lurve Aragorn , but you’re only adding fuel to the fire and receiving dagger eyes in return. Oh wait, but you’re an immortal elf with magical replaceable bows. Carry on, please.
Aragorn gently reprimands Legolas, but it’s too late–a rift has been created. Boromir replies hostilely that Gondor has no king.
Elrond presents only one option: the Ring must be taken back to where it was created. It must be destroyed in Mount Doom. Now the only problem is, who shall take it? As everyone else argues over who will be designated the Ring-bearer, sparked by GIMLI‘s (John Rhys-Davies) cry that he would “be dead before he’ll see the ring in the hands of an Elf,” Frodo pales as he sees the Council divided in the Ring’s reflection. [I’m of the humble opinion that he was more like…hoping that Frodo wouldn’t be the one to take it because I’m sure he knows that it won’t end very well for his beloved nasty hobbit (hey, hey! Lay off the name-calling!)]
Above the bickering commotion, he hears the Ring speak to him and sees a wave of fire flicker across the Ring. It is then that Frodo makes perhaps one of the biggest decisions he’s ever made when he cries out, “I will take it! I will take it! I will take the Ring.” It’s interesting that Gandalf closes his eyes slowly and sadly, as if he already knew Frodo would be destined to carry the task.
The Council hushes as a confident Frodo reiterates his intentions to carry the Ring until he realizes meekly that he does not know the way there. Cue the emergence of Team Awesome-sauce to the rescue! The group consists of Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir, who vow to help Frodo bear this burden. But that’s not all! A few Hobbits have been eavesdropping. Sam and co. have been hiding nearby but having heard that Frodo will be sent off on a long journey, they eagerly volunteer themselves for the trip! The others are wary and even Gandalf has a crack-tastic WTF? look on his face.
Pippin: “Anyway, you need people of intelligence on this sort of…mission. Quest. Thing.”
Merry: “Well, that rules you out, Pip.”
Though they have yet to understand the purpose of said journey, they don’t want to miss out on any adventures. And this, is when the Fellowship really begins. As Elrond officially announces them as the nine companions, Pippin hilariously asks, “Great! Where are we going?” Lol.
Bilbo presents Frodo with several gifts before they part. He takes his old sword Sting which is actually no ordinary sword. It turns a pretty blue color when Orcs are nearby. (I wants it! I wants it!) The next gift is just as rare. Bilbo holds up a chain-mail shirt made out of Mithril, which is “light as a feather and as hard as dragon’s scales.” Eagerly, Frodo is about to try it on but as he unbuttons his shirt, Bilbo notices the Ring hung around his neck. Still attached to the object, Bilbo begs to hold it for one last time, even stuttering with anticipation as Frodo silently re-buttons his top in response. Rejected, Bilbo’s face distorts and shouts with anger while he tries to grab the Ring. ‘Tis quite scary! (Omg, I wanna screencap that part a bazillion times.)
Recovering from his unexpected outburst, Bilbo apologizes to Frodo for bringing this burden on him, weeping as he does so. I love how Frodo reaches out to his uncle, rather than saying anything. Actions speak louder than words, they say.
The group sets off and several days pass. Gandalf leads them on a road to the Misty Mountains, where he plans to navigate through the place for 40 days before reaching Rohan. During a food break, Merry and Pippin are receiving some lessons in the art of swordplay. As they’re practicing sword-fighting, Boromir’s sword accidentally comes into close contact with Pippin, who uses the opportunity to fake an injury. Before Boromir realizes what’s happening, the two Hobbits tackle him to the ground. Score and touchdown, baby! Wait, this isn’t football.
Coming upon the group is a swarm of birds. With his superior eyes, Legolas sees that it’s Crebain from Dunland, otherwise known as Saruman’s spies. Despite taking cover, the birds see everything and return to report back to Saruman. Gandalf knows that he cannot continue to lead them toward the passage South and so, they embark on the Path of Caradhras.
Unlike the passage South, where the weather was warm, the Path of Caradhras is frigidly cold. It’s such a stark contrast in setting that my heart breaks to see the little Hobbits trudging through snow that could easily consume them wearing clothes that will not keep them warm in this weather. Frodo stumbles in his walk and falls backwards. As Aragorn lifts him and he dusts himself off, he’s instantly aware that the necklace with the Ring is gone.
Behind them, Boromir picks up the chain. The others stop as they watch a mesmerized Boromir cling to the chain for longer than he should. “It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.” What a nice quote for me to jot down.
He snaps back to reality as Aragorn calls his name for a second time! All watch as Boromir hesitantly hands the Ring back to Frodo, who grabs it earnestly from him. Boromir tries to laugh it off, declaring that he really doesn’t care about such a trivial trinket but Aragorn knows better. He gives him the death glare nonetheless, while his hands grip tightly to his sword for a moment longer before letting it go. *falls to the floor* I’ve been zapped! Aragorn has THE hottest death glares ever.
Time for a wizard showdown hundreds of miles away! Back in his evil lair where he is preparing to do evil things, Saruman casts a spell to bring down the mountain. Gandalf counters with spells of his own but without shelter at the edge of a mountain, the group is trapped as heavy snow falls upon them. Luckily (for the sake of the story and our sanity) no one’s injured.
Since it’s impossible to pass over the mountain at the moment, Gandalf lets Frodo decide where to turn. This is an advantage for Saruman, who knows that Gandalf is afraid to go into the underground Mines of Moria where Shadow and Flames await. Seeing how cold his companions are, Frodo declares that they will go through the mines.
Arriving at The Doors of Durin, the gateway into Moria, Gandalf has forgotten the passcode. He attempts a few phrases, but can’t seem to remember it. The gang waits patiently while our two trouble makers aka Merry and Pippin have a little fun by throwing rocks into the swamp. Something stirs in the water as Frodo realizes that the doors hold a riddle: Speak ‘friend’ and enter. He asks Gandalf to speak “friend” in Elvish and the doors magically open! Yay Frodo! C’mon, *looks at guest bloggers* you have to admit that he was quite useful here–and smart. [Only because he’s so incredibly stupid and simple-minded that he can come up with such a simple solution..Nevermind the fact that Gandalf is too sophisticated for silly Dwarvish riddles.]
[I’m more interested in why the Dwarves, if they hate the Elves so much, would use an Elvish word as their password… Anyway, it didn’t sound like Gandalf was speaking in Elvish earlier, so perhaps it really was that Frodo simply didn’t know of the history between Elves and Dwarves and ignorantly suggested that Gandalf try speaking in Elvish. It’s not a particularly hard riddle, and I’m sure Gandalf would have tried it in Dwarvish first…]
Although they’ve succeeded in entering the mines, they enter into a horrific scene. Splayed across are the skeletons of Dwarves, who have been dead for some time. A heartbroken Gimli cries while Boromir urges everyone to flee!
By this time, the thing in the water has awakened. It almost comes to no one’s surprise that it grabs Frodo first with its tentacles. [Well, predators do tend to single out the weaker prey first…] The men fight the watcher–cutting, slashing, and shooting the monster with anything they have. Frodo is freed and they have no choice but to flee back into the mines.
Gandalf’s memory fails him again in the inner sanctuary of the mines. While Gandalf puffs on his pipe and thinks, Frodo senses another presence behind them. He looks and sees a creature he can’t clearly make out, whom Gandalf identifies as Gollum.
Gandalf: He hates and loves the Ring, as he hates and loves himself. He will never be rid of his need for it.
Frodo: It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It is pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death and judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before it is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.
In one of perhaps many moments throughout the series, Frodo laments his fate with the Ring. Gandalf encourages him and (another great quote to document) says, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” He plays it as fate that Bilbo was given the Ring, which means that Frodo was also meant to carry it. It is then that Gandalf knows which way to go. His memory hasn’t come back to him, but he’s going by intuition, something that will certainly become an important factor in future decision-making moments.
The group follows Gandalf’s lead and enters a room littered with skeletons. Gimli gasps and rushes into an inner sanctuary…straight into a tomb.
I do quite feel like all the midterms and studying and grad school nonsense has stripped my brain of any intelligent commenting..but since endodo DEMANDS commentary, I shall attempt my very hardest to provide some insight. No guarantees though!
I suppose I shall work backwards because the dialogue in the last scene between Gandalf and Frodo is [in my very humble opinion] one of the best scenes in the trilogy. I love the depth and meaning in what Gandalf says. Frodo of course, is merely beginning to understand what it means to carry the burden of a Ring. He’s starting to sense that leaving the Shire is not all fun and games as he first assumed, but that the outside world is actually darker than he imagined. Already wrought with pain as a result of the evil he carries, he now wishes to return to the innocent bright life he had before. Gandalf’s response to his lament is one which I believe we can all take to heart. Oftentimes, we really can’t decide what happens to us. Sometimes we are suddenly thrust into circumstances that we never desired or prepared for. However, in those moments when life feels completely out of our own control, it’s important to take it as such. We can’t change those circumstances. We can only choose how to respond to them [I almost wanna go into this whole shpiel about predispositions’ interplay with nature and all that loverly psychology stuff, but I’ll spare you].
Also, Gandalf brings up a profound point about dealing out death and judgment and all that loverly stuff. I’ve touched on this before elsewhere, but I suppose it’s worth repeating. I like the idea that Gollum played a part in the bigger picture of the whole story. Throughout the trilogy, one never has the sense that he is any good. At best, he is a necessary evil to have around, but mostly, we kind of suspect him. We know he’s up to no good. Frodo believes that Gollum should have died. But without that single act of mercy on Bilbo’s part, the ending of this whole adventure would probably have been significantly altered, as we shall see. Endodo forbade me from giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say that Gollum turns out to be immensely important. And isn’t that how life is sometimes? Things happen that seem unpleasant at the time, but they all work together to create this intricate tapestry that never would have come into being without every little piece. Perhaps the best summary of all that is Gandalf’s quote: “The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.” And indeed it did.
Random side note: When the fellowship first sets out and all, during that snippet where we see the characters walking one by one up the hill or whatever, I find it notable that Aragorn is last. Not yet king, afraid, still hiding in the shadows, he takes up the rear. As we shall see, he makes his way to the front of the line later as he grows to accept his place.
Oh oh, other side note: I LOVE Boromir’s quote like, “It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.” ^0^ And indeed, it is true…One would never imagine that something as tiny as a ring could potentially cause the end of the world as they know it. But it somehow holds that immense power, breaking apart friendships, corrupting purer hearts, causing such irreparable damage to those that come into contact with it. So I guess we should sweat the small stuff. xp
Though I am now an enlightened soul and I do agree that Frodo as a character is quite idiotic, I can’t help but empathize with him. Call me weaksauce and glare at me, but my heart goes out to him. What can I say? I have a savior complex. What’s a savior complex, you may ask. In my own definition, it’s the tendency or need to “save” the helpless, pitiful, those-who-sit-by-themselves-in-the-cafateria type of people. In my case, it’s usually guys. Don’t judge! In fact, this happened today when I was at a lunch meeting. During a huge meeting at work today, I scoured the rows of tables until I found some loner dude to sit next to. It wasn’t until I sat down that I realized that I did it again–that my savior complex took over and I was looking for someone to “save.” So anyway, whenever I see Frodo, I just wanna give him a huge bear hug to cheer him up. Despite his stupidity, I like Frodo. I get upset with him sometimes, but I like him regardless. Blame it on my savior complex.
Let me be blatantly honest and say that I did not approve of the romance between Aragorn and Arwen for years. I’m going to go one step further and say that I hated Arwen. Why? Because I didn’t see her love with Aragorn all that fantastic. I didn’t understand why an Elf would choose to give up her immortality all for a mere human being. It was love? Bah, humbug! Don’t give me that crap, I thought. It made no sense to me that out of all the pretty Elf-men out there, she’d pick out Aragorn. Why should I root for their love? Why is their romance THE romance of all romances in LOTR? Therefore, to understand Arwen and her relationship with Aragorn a bit more, I had to ask Arwen herself, or at least the closest resemblance of her. Lucky for me, I’m good friends with one, who explained to me in detail about why this romance worked out for her.
First of all, their relationship began many, many years ago. (Aragorn and Arwen are both old, but Arwen is the oldest with thousands of years under her belt). So their relationship isn’t a mere infatuation; it’s composed of a deep understanding and respect for the one another. In the scene where Arwen gives away her Evenstar necklace that represents her immortality, I was a bit blown away at how the phrase “I would die for you because I love you” would be appropriate here. Because that’s essentially what Arwen is doing. She loves Aragorn to the point that she doesn’t even blink an eye when she gives away her immortality. I love how that necklace is also named “Evenstar,” because that’s who Arwen is. She’s giving away herself. On the other hand, Aragorn knows how significant this sacrifice is for her. He understands that for her to give the Evenstar necklace away means that she’s forsaking not only her immortality, but throwing away all she holds dear to, such as family and friends, for him. She’s doing this all because she loves him, which sounds like such a sappy thing to say but it just shows how deep the love she has for him. I mean, she’s an Elf with magical powers. She could just marry another pretty Elf and live forever, but she pledges to marry (the sexy) Aragorn instead. I’m not saying that Aragorn doesn’t deserve her; it’s that they’re from different leagues. So their relationship consists of not only true commitment, but true sacrifice too.
There’s something else about Arwen that I now admire, which was brought up in my conversation with my friend. I’m going to go ahead and quote her on this one since I think she says it better. “She [Arwen] demonstrates strength of a different kind through her devotion…it’s like when they say that behind every strong man is a stronger woman. She doesn’t have to be waving a sword to show that she has a lot of inner strength, which is why I like her.”
Throughout this series, we’re going to see how the love story between Aragorn and Arwen plays out. I won’t give away any spoilers, but let’s just say that these two are going to hit a huge bump in the road. I used to scorn these said “obstacles” because I thought that it was so dramatic and lame. However, I’m looking forward to it now. There’s something to be learned from their relationship and there’s much to discuss later on. Though these two must face their own choices for the future, you can be sure that it will be a realistic portrayal when compared to real life relationships, regardless of whether they’re romantic or not.
Ever wonder why Elrond is such a naysayer during the Council meeting? Turns out he has great reason to doubt everyone:
The Elves are on their way to the Gray Havens which is, apparently, not their fault as that has been their destination since the beginning of time. (This doesn’t change the fact that they can’t be relied upon in the battle for Middle Earth.)
The Dwarves have a historically poor reputation of hiding themselves in themselves in their mountain fortresses and obsessing over their mines and the riches they tease from those depths. This probably explains in part that incredible sense of national pride that we get from Gimli, who flaunts the virtues and finer points of the dwarves in a loud boast at every opportunity: they need to justify to themselves that they are not running away from Middle Earth’s troubles–they are too good for the rest of Middle Earth. (Think a version of Nietzche’s concept of slave morality.)
[Before you start thinking of him in an even more negative light than the movies portray him, remember Elvish snootiness–they do the same thing, just silently while they look down their cultured noses at the rest of the world. Think Legolas and his carefully raised eyebrows at key points of Gimli’s silliness.]
And don’t even get Elrond started on the race of Man. He recounts to the Council of the aftermath of the fall of the Dark Lord–the events that have led to Sauron’s resurrection when he should have been forever defeated and we see a flashback of when Isildur (King of Gondor) and Elrond (Lord of Rivendell) stand above the fires of Mount Doom. It is at this point that the viewers experience the same disappointment of the Elves in the race of Men, who are shown to be fallible, flawed, and most of all, weak. [This is indeed commentary on the human race.] As though it weren’t enough to show that Men are morally deficient, Isildur is quickly killed in an Orc raid with hardly a struggle. So much for the hero that vanquished the Dark Lord, brought to his ignominous end by Orc arrows in the back. [Fleeing? More the disgrace!]
In other words, the situation is bleak even though the Elves, the Dwarves, and the Men have brought their race’s best and brightest, their oldest and [supposedly] wisest minds [though none of them really contribute anything worthy of note]. The Elves will not trust anyone but themselves to bear the Ring, but they are all leaving anyway, so that is a moot point. (In any case, the Dwarves would never hear of one of those stuck-up, pointy-eared fops bearing the Ring.) The Dwarves are no longer deemed worthy by the Elves and Men to bear the dubious “honor” of the Ring, seeing as how they willfully isolated themselves in the past. And of course, no one needs to be reminded of the moral frailty of Man, though Boromir’s ego seems enough to carry the burden of the Ring and then some.
Neither of these races will allow any other to bear the Ring–there are hints of a history between them that speaks of a power struggle that has left strains of distrust between them [more than is already afforded them by their disparate races, at any rate]. “I will be dead before I see the Ring in the hands of an Elf!” Gimli growls, effectively kicking off an inter-race argument as each rush to either agree or defend their people. Perhaps it is simply Tolkien’s version of racism speaking. More likely, perhaps each race is worried that another will be able to use the Ring as leverage against them.
It’s not entirely clear why the Council would choose a Hobbit Ringbearer, but this would explain in part why Frodo, a simple, insignificant Hobbit becomes the Ringbearer. The Shire is a peaceful land and was never involved in the struggles of Middle Earth–Hobbits have no negative political history with the other races and would therefore have no reason to side with any one race or give power to any one race because of prior alliances or affiliations. On the flip side, each race may be hoping that their representative on the Fellowship will be able to manipulate and control the poor, naive Hobbit in the process of protecting his defenseless self and tip the balance of power in their direction….
[Or wait, Gandalf vouched for him. Obviously, since Gandalf is thus far The Coolest Character Ever, clearly that’s why the Council chose Frodo.]
Either way, for whatever reason, the hopes of Middle Earth have thus been pinned on Frodo the Hobbit. Let us hope that he does not disappoint us all…..
[And I leave you with that overly melodramatic ending. -S]
Screencap Credits: All taken by endodo. Don’t steal! Or else we stab out your eyses!